A Story of a Headache: Jozef Justh and the Martin Memorandum

Príbeh jedného hlavybôľu. Jozef Justh a martinské memorandum

The article offers a new interpretation of history of the Slovak Memorandum from 1861 with the focus on the role of Jozef Justh. He has been mentioned quite often in connection with this document, but he is not a well-known character. Based on the traditional judgment made by his Slovak contemporaries in their memoires, he is considered as a "traitor of the Memorandum" and historiography later adopted this view. This image needs an in-depth correction. For decades, Justh had been influencing the politics of the Turiec County significantly and was the most active actor in discussions and the most experienced speaker who took part in outlining the Memorandum. The goal of his activities in Turčiansky sv. Martin was not to "spy" on Slovak efforts and their subsequent betrayal, but it was neither the attempt for reconciliation between Slovaks and Hungarians as two coequal nations. We can understand his activities only when we apply the method of social drama by Victor Turner on the history of Memorandum. Justh's activities on June 6th and 7th were actually an effort by Hungarian political elites to reintegrate in social sense a separated group (in this case the Slovak national movement) into Hungarian society.